|Directed by||Haifaa al-Mansour|
|Starring||Sanaa Lathan, Ernie Hudson, Lyriq Bent, Lynn Whitfield, Ricky Whittle, Camille Guaty|
|Released on||September 21, 2018 (United States)|
A movie that stars incredibly talented black women and preaches self-love? What? That’s amazing, right? That is what Nappily Ever After in a nutshell is. It’s this amazing story of empowerment, that will resonate with young and old females all over the world.
We’re taught how to speak, dress, walk, do our hair, behave and the list goes on and on and on. It’s a never ending amount of suppression that women still go through to this day. I have friends who sacrifice sleep just to be able to look society’s version of beautiful every day. They wake up early, to do their hair and make-up and make sure everything is always flawless. Now, I appreciate their perseverance and it’s all great when they’re doing it out of their own desire to look a certain way. But the real problem here is when women feel the need to change the way they look to fit into society! It hurts when I see women who feel the pressure to look runway ready every single day. It’s soul crushing to feel like you cannot possibly love your natural beauty because everywhere you go, picture perfect photo-shopped models are staring back at you. From the moment we wake up, till the time we go to bed, we are constantly, haunted.
If you’re not skinny, do not have a clear complexion and aren’t at least five feet five inches tall with silky smooth hair then how could you possibly be beautiful? How could you possibly like what you see in the mirror? It’s ridiculous. Products are constantly being shoved down our throats. Smoother, straighter, silkier hair. Clearer skin. Young beauty. The worshiping of youth is even more messed up considering older women are clearly more majestic with more experience and there is beauty in that grandeur.
Nappily Ever After chooses not to change the entire perspective on how we view women, but to tackle just one issue head-on. Hair. It seems simple at first. But we women spend so much time on our hair. Whether it’s actually altering it, spending money on it or even just thinking about it. It’s such an utter waste of what could be a much more productive use of our time. It also tackles the distinctly stricter upbringing of black children when compared to white children.
The movie first starts off with Violet Jones’ (Sanaa Lathan) as a young girl and we see how her mum is obsessed with how the public sees her daughter. Violet’s mum feels that her daughter reflects the kind of a woman she is. Therefore, young Violet doesn’t run around or get messy like the other kids. This control that her mum establishes when she’s a young girl continues throughout the rest of her life.
We see her get broken up with, instead of engaged to her boyfriend, Clint (Ricky Whittle). He says she’s too perfect. That’s a terrible thing to say to someone and Violet obviously doesn’t take it well. It all comes crashing down when she comes home drunk after a botched one night stand and shaves off all her hair. The next morning isn’t pretty but eventually Violet learns to let go of things and to stop living the way her mum wanted her to. The journey of becoming herself is akin to a coming of age story, except that she’s not a teen. This makes the movie super interesting. I hardly ever see movies where there is any sort of self-actualization in adults, it’s always teens. Nappily Ever After shows that the process of evolving and growing into yourself never truly stops.
The film puts out a powerful message about natural beauty and embracing it. Loving yourself has never been so important as it is today. Losing yourself is easy. Finding and becoming yourself is much harder and one should never lose that once they’ve found it.
Video Credits – Netflix | YouTube